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by Ned
Rated: 13+ · Book · Entertainment · #2199980
Thoughts destined to be washed away by the tides of life.
I've been studying my cover photo for a while now, and it seems to me that it is more than just a photo of what is there that can be seen, more than just three white rocks stacked on a beach. It contains an important question about the future, about what happens long after the photographer has gone. What will happen to our pile of stones when the tide comes in? Will it topple or has the architect built this structure at a safe distance?

I don't know what will happen to these words that I stack here on the sand. They may prove safely distant, or they may be swallowed up by a rush of self-doubt. They may be here for a season. They may lose their balance and be scattered by the shoreline, or be hidden away under shifting sands. Perhaps someday, the tides of life will reclaim them.

Or maybe that's just a bunch of poetic, romantic nonsense. After all, this is just a blog.

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August 22, 2020 at 10:31am
August 22, 2020 at 10:31am
It's been ten days since I last blogged. Sometimes I think about blogging but I don't because it's unlikely that my thoughts will be of any interest to anyone but me (and I take only the slightest of interest). Mostly, I worry that I might moan too much. But sometimes, I moan just the right amount. Still, moans are very personal things and everyone has their own area of distress and I don't want anyone to think that I am being very self-centered while ignoring the truly moan-worthy situations .

Poetry comes to mind. Actually, I wish poetry would come to mind - I need to write some poetry today.

Well, I just got a phone call which took all the thoughts right out of my head. How does that happen? Is there some kind of suction device built into it? And how does it fit inside my thin cell phone? And do young people even know why the sound that accompanies a call is called a "ringtone"? Do they know that phones used to ring? as in, like a bell? I am convinced that the young these days have missed out on some important things which they view as incomprehensible cultural references that old people make.

Well, now I am off track. Must be time to go, I have a poem to write.

August 12, 2020 at 10:26am
August 12, 2020 at 10:26am
I don't know how usual it is for people to put restrictions on access to their writing, but it seems to me that I run into it quite a lot. At least, I run into it more often than I would expect. I ran into it today, in fact.

If someone were writing something they wanted to keep from too many eyes - like the chapters of a book they plan to publish - then that makes perfect sense to me. But I don't understand the concept of allowing some members to view your writing and not others. I have had this happen even when I am part of the same group as the writer with the restricted access. I cannot see how one can possibly plan to participate in activities within a group if you have blocked some members of that group from seeing what you've written.

So, you may say, perhaps if one is an acclaimed and highly placed writer, one may want the eyes of only one's peers to gaze upon one's writing. For me, that makes sense if you don't want what you would consider to be less experienced writers to send you reviews by the dozens. Of course, I have been here more than a year and I have yet to receive reviews by the dozens, even when I shamelessly promote my work across the platforms available. But if I did want to be sure to avoid that, it's an easy fix. There are settings and other thingies that you can adjust to keep people from reviewing said items, no?

And maybe if I didn't have a close family member here, I wouldn't even know that some restrictions apply only to me. But I do. And based on our relative standings here, I wonder if the level of membership has anything to do with it. Is it a question of basic, upgraded or premium? I am not a communist or anything, but that makes the lower classes feel.... well.... lower.
August 7, 2020 at 1:49pm
August 7, 2020 at 1:49pm
I am feeling pretty proud of myself today. I've been putting all my efforts recently into earning enough GPs to purchase my next 6 months of upgraded membership. I have been doing reviews and entering contests, even trying to catch one of the games on the Messenger now and then in order to earn a few GPs here and there.

I like earning my way. I have purchased some GPs a couple of times when I was short, just to make up the amount needed to continue for 3 months. There's nothing wrong with buying GPs - I know that's what keeps the site in business. Still, I managed to get over the top just through writing and reviewing and I was able to purchase a 6 month extension, and that feels really good. Plus, six months gives me a little breathing room...

This morning, I won a contest and that win was really the most important because it got me to my goal. But I almost didn't enter at all. As it was, I got my entry in with just a few minutes left on the deadline. So, there's a lesson for me. Don't leave things so late and keep plugging away, sometimes it pays off. And enter contests even if you don't think you have a chance. You can't win if you don't enter.

Contests are something I really enjoy, even if I do kick myself a bit when I lose. Everything is a learning experience and the fact that there are so many kinds of contests on WDC makes it easy to find one that fits me and my style.

I will admit that it makes me a little nervous to have nearly wiped out my GP bank, but with concentrated effort, I hope to replenish it in good time. Who knows, maybe I will even buy myself some GPs for Christmas this year.
August 5, 2020 at 6:44pm
August 5, 2020 at 6:44pm
This blog post inspired by the 48 Hour Challenge Media Prompt due August 7, 2020.
Prompt: Music video “This Too Shall Pass” by OK Go

I am one of those people who always need to know the lyrics to a song in order to know if I like it or not. I’ve been caught out before, being drawn in by a catchy hook and infectious melody only to find out a song that I thought I liked was really about something horrible and I couldn’t sing it in front of my children. So I did look up the lyrics of the song but first I listened to the music and watched the video.

The visuals immediately spoke to me. The music was merely background to the message that the video was presenting. I liked the music, but it wasn’t what made an impression on me first.

I guess it’s because I was having a rough day. I just got off track today, that’s all. I couldn’t find any words to write. Any words I had previously written proved not to be good enough. I felt like everything in my life was out of my control and I couldn’t do anything to get it back to normal. And then the dominoes started falling in the video, and things just took off from there and I realized that this song perfectly fit my life today. It’s just one reaction after another after another, seeming to follow a prescribed course but ultimately leading to chaos.

That’s not really a good message, but that is where the lyrics did save it. This too shall pass. We know that’s true, at least we acknowledge it intellectually, but on a really bad day when your life is zooming along knocking over this and that and you cannot prevent the cause and effect, it’s not so easy to remember.

Still, while all the chaos is going on, they just keep reassuring the listener that “this too shall pass” and recommending that “you can’t keep letting it get you down”.

The lyrics are a bit simple and repetitive, but perhaps a simple message is sometimes the most effective. Sometimes you don’t need a complex philosophical message, you just need to hear that we all get down, we all have burdens that we carry around and that tomorrow is another day. A day that might bring relief, that might bring resolution.

So, I don’t know if I am a new fan of this group or their music, but for a few minutes today I was able to stop my inner drama and see the bigger picture.

Of course, I will probably go right back to feeling sorry for myself, but that too shall pass.

August 1, 2020 at 8:13am
August 1, 2020 at 8:13am
This is an unusual blog post for me, and it’s not the sort of thing I am good at, so bear with me. The important thing to remember is that this blog post is not about me, nor is it trying to elicit sympathy for me, despite the relating of some truly tragic details of my life in recent days, so we will have none of that. This blog post is about something else. It’s about WDC, or WdC or however one wants to stylize that.

Through circumstances we won’t discuss, I ended up with quite a long stay in the hospital for a large chunk of July. And let me tell you, being in the hospital during a pandemic is not the luxury hotel experience you might imagine. For one thing, you spend a few days isolated while they test you for Covid. Until such test results are received and prove negative, no one can enter your room without several layers of protective coverings, so no one enters your room unless they have some pressing medical need - like puncturing your veins one more time to fill vials of blood, or checking that you are asleep by waking you up to take your vital signs.

As I am extremely lucky, I got to stay in two separate hospital settings with three admissions and four rooms. And even luckier for me, the fact that I was running a fever meant that I got to have two invasive, up the nose and poke your brain Covid swab tests. Then, when I was transferred, I got to have two more. All of them negative, I mean, no worries about that. Four tests in two weeks, all negative. But being Covid free does not completely negate the discomforting experience of having someone stick a ten foot Q-tip up your nostril.

But none of that is the point of this blog post. Because that’s all about me, whining about my life.

The point is, that throughout the rather annoying month of July, there was one thing that made me feel normal - as soon as I was feeling well enough, I could log onto WDC and enter a world where all I needed to interact were words.

Of course, the extended isolation meant that I had to log onto WDC through my phone. I am not going to pretend this was easy. I had to learn to navigate the mobile version of the site, and once I had done that, I had to figure out how to post. First tries were limited to Newsfeed posts, but I soon graduated to answering the Question of the Day. The true test was trying to compose on my phone and then manage to transfer those words into an item in my portfolio and then to enter said item into a contest. I am rather proud of the fact that I won a few contests with my hospital poetry. And I kept up my participation in an ongoing poetry challenge, a feat in itself.

I learned some very useful things. Phone keyboards are tiny and missing one or two things that nearly kept me from succeeding. Like the curly bracket. The curly bracket is essential to posting on WDC and there was no curly bracket on any of my phone’s downloaded keyboards. I would love to tell you that I was clever enough to figure out how to make a curly bracket on my own, but what really happened is that I was complaining about it in a text while speaking the text into the phone, and when I said “curly bracket”, one appeared on the screen. It was a miracle! And it didn’t take me very long (a little while, though) to figure out that saying “close curly bracket” produced the closing bracket.

But the main point is that during very long days, spent mostly alone and with little to distract me (hospital television offerings are uninteresting, to say the least), WDC gave me a reason to think, to write, to learn new things and challenged me in new ways. All of which makes it worth the price of admission.

I don’t want you to think I was all brave and stoical and heroic, though. I did my share of whining. Here’s an example of whining hospital poetry:

And a little shout out to some of those forums and contests that inspired me while I was confined:

And many thanks also to WDC for the little prods and prompts on the newsfeed that kept my mind from atrophying.

And always remember - your phone knows what a curly bracket is. I may never get over that...

July 25, 2020 at 7:56am
July 25, 2020 at 7:56am
I am feeling a bit genetically modified today.

How can you tell if your DNA has been altered while you were sleeping?

It's funny. I went to bed with normal DNA, but I woke up feeling all NAD.

July 19, 2020 at 8:38am
July 19, 2020 at 8:38am
This might be a strange blog post to return to the blog with, but it sort of follows a theme with the last post. Because lobsters are not fish, either, but like mermaids, they live in the ocean.

First, let me say that I have never eaten lobster and it is very unlikely that I ever will. But that doesn’t stop me from thinking about them. Not really sure what makes me start thinking about them, but this morning I got lobsters on the brain.

Thinking, that’s what it’s about. And brains.

Because for years, scientists said that lobsters don’t feel pain because their central nervous system is too rudimentary. They haven’t got a central brain. No brain, no pain.

I have always been a bit suspicious of people who purport to know what another creature is feeling. You and I are humans - the very same species - but I can never know exactly what your pain feels like. I can tell you I have a headache and you can accept that, but not feel it. And there could be times we think others are faking. Right?

So, how do we know lobsters don’t feel pain? Scientists said so. But now some scientists are saying the opposite. Canadian scientists, even, which would make it eminently believable according to my mother. And surprisingly, people who used to say there was no better way to kill a lobster have come up with some new and more humane ways to kill a lobster. In case it feels pain. Which they still deny.

I don’t eat lobster and have never ordered one to be killed for my pleasure. So why do I care? It’s just this thing I feel about having great responsibility and taking care to not do harm on purpose and to try to give voice to the voiceless. The non-verbal make really easy targets for injustice.

If you are going to make decisions that might cause pain, that might be cases of life and death, I think you’d better be sure about all your facts. And in some cases, where you can’t be sure, you have to err on the side of caution.

Anyway, I don’t know what a lobster feels or thinks, which is no good reason to drop it alive into a vat of boiling water. Personally, I think they are nothing more than big insects that live in the sea, but I don’t step on insects that are too big to kill with one attempt. There’s that squishy effect, too. Yuck. But my personal opinion on lobsters and whether or not I want one doesn’t really have any influence over whether they deserve humane treatment.

I guess I am saying that just because someone gave you the right to kill something that has no power to object, it doesn’t mean you should or that you know everything you need to know to make an informed decision.

Can Lobsters Feel Pain  
July 7, 2020 at 2:59pm
July 7, 2020 at 2:59pm
I need to write a blog post. It isn't as if I don't have any ideas, it is just that I question whether those ideas are suitable or wise. And well, I figure that I may as well be hanged for a sheep as two lambs, as my mother always said.

This is something that has been bothering me for days. I don't know what sort of attitude to have towards it because I can't decide if the perpetrators of this act are truly stupid, or if they have some sort of dry Scandinavian humor that maybe only my father could have understood. I would prefer the latter, because it's discouraging to think the former might be true.

Maybe you've seen my profile photo of The Little Mermaid. This statue is in Copenhagen, Denmark and it pays tribute to Hans Christian Andersen, the author of many stories for children (though The Little Mermaid is far too sad for children - it's nothing like the Disney version).

This mermaid sits on a rock in the harbor, looking out to see sea. Too bad she was looking away or she might have seen the vandals who defaced her.

For deface her, they did, with graffiti that reads: RACIST FISH.

Now you can see why I hope this is someone with a twisted sense of humor.

Because it is really, really sad to think that there are people out there who do not know the difference between a mermaid and a fish. It's even sadder to think that there are people out there who cannot tell fictional, mythological creatures from actual, historical figures.

And how unhappy a person do you have to be to be mean to a mermaid? Especially the Little Mermaid, a tragic figure who sacrificed herself for love of a human? That is so the opposite of racist.

And, this is just my opinion, but if you can't tell a mermaid from a fish, you may not be ready to step up and run the world.
July 2, 2020 at 1:10pm
July 2, 2020 at 1:10pm
I think it’s time to discuss privacy issues with the cat. I mean, it didn’t bother me when the cat used to go into the bathroom with me, but she doesn’t do that anymore. And it didn’t bother me when she would stick her paws under the door. That was cute, really adorable. These little white paws stuck onto spindly black legs reaching under the door to try to retrieve a piece of paper she’d managed to chase through the gap at the bottom of the door. Wow, so endearing. I don’t mind that at all.

No, the problem is that she tries to open the bathroom door.

The cat knows how doors work. She’s seen us opening doors by turning the door knob. Now, the cat is not equipped with the right size of paw or whatever else she needs to be successful at turning door knobs. Thank goodness. If she ever learns to open the door, my life is over. I already went through this when my son was a toddler. He became the reason for highly placed locks and chains on doors. I am older and less resourceful, I could not handle it.

No, the cat tries but cannot open the bathroom door. What she can do is rattle the door knob which always gives me a start, thinking someone is about to walk in on me. The knob rattles, it shakes, nearly turns and I begin to form a warning scream when I suddenly realize it’s the cat.

It’s like living through a brief, tense scene in a horror movie, but only for a moment and there is no danger. So, not like a horror movie at all, but you will allow my exaggerated emotional response. The thing is, she doesn’t answer when I call out “who is it?” and that’s just what a killer in a movie would do.

But I suppose that if the cat trying to open the door freaks me out, then finding out the cat can talk would be enough to send me over the edge.
June 28, 2020 at 8:37am
June 28, 2020 at 8:37am
It’s Sunday. I’ve discovered that not many people read blogs on the weekend. That’s okay. It fits right in with my post for today as it is not the sort that needs to be read as much as it needs to be written.

Someone once asked me what the theme of my blog was going to be and I felt a little panicky. I need a theme? I have written theme blogs before, but that was a different time. Way back when the Blogosphere was a phenomenon, when Google Adsense paid well and when you could drive traffic to a popularly-themed and regularly updated blog.

But that’s not this blog. Chances are if I keep writing here, I will eventually and without thinking type the sentence that reveals too much of the real me. I wouldn’t like that and neither would you. I prefer to be the other me, the one I make up new every day, like a hotel bed. A clean sheet every day.

I signed up for The Bard’s Hall blog challenge this month. The challenge is to write ten blog posts in the month of June. Which I have. Actually, this post and anything beyond it is a bonus.

I noticed something, though. When I first signed up and read the posts on the forum, I read that one had only to post the first blog post for June and tag it with Bard’s Hall. Which I did. Later, I noticed that everyone was editing their posts and updating them every time they published a new blog post. I thought about going along with the crowd, but I just can’t. It doesn’t make sense to do it that way. If the link to the first post is there, then all one needs to do to continue through the blog is to click on the word “Next”. To me, that seems infinitely simpler than going back and forth from the links on the Bard’s Hall entry post to each individual blog post. I suppose it looks like others did all the work and I didn’t.

Hey, that’s the first time I thought of that. If everyone else lists all their posts and I listed just the first one, they might assume there is only one. Ah well, I can’t conform at this point. It’s too late. I hope they do read through but it’s okay if they skip this one. It’s surplus anyway.

Which is why it’s okay that no one reads blogs on the weekend.

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